Have you ever been wronged so bad that you swore to get revenge, even if it takes you a lifetime? Even if it means waiting years–until your significant other passes away–to take action? Would you, or better yet, could you follow through with your plan during the twilight of your life, despite being saddled with the confounding, memory-stripping effects of dementia? Remember, written by Benjamin August and directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Felicia’s Journey), features old pros Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau as a couple of elderly Holocaust survivors who seek revenge on the man responsible for the deaths of their families years earlier at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
I saw Remember at the Houston Jewish Film Festival and the movie makes good on it’s interesting premise. It puts a nice spin on the standard revenge thriller and is elevated by strong performances. Five years have passed since Christopher Plummer’s delightful, Oscar-winning turn in Beginners (Best Supporting Actor), and at age 86, he’s still doing his thing. At 87, Martin Landau is also in fine form and it’s fun to see the octogenarians on screen together. Plummer does the heavy lifting as Zev Gutman, the legs of the operation. He suffers from dementia and has lapses in memory in which he goes blank and gets confused. When Zev’s wife dies, longtime acquaintance Max (Landau), gives him a letter complete with detailed, step-by-step instructions to help him track down and murder the blockführer responsible for the deaths of their families. Max is in a wheelchair and can’t embark on the cross-country mission, but he assists Zev from a distance, providing him with info and accommodations.
Remember is like a geriatric Memento. Sometimes in the middle of Zev’s mission, he goes blank and forgets that he’s even on a mission. This leads to some suspenseful moments and some humorous ones too, though his condition and the serious plight that he’s on never allow it to be too funny. The humor is lined with sadness. This man’s in no shape to be traveling alone, let alone trying to solve a mystery and commit homicide. Some deeds are unforgivable though, even if the body renders them forgettable, and I enjoyed watching things play out. There isn’t a ton of substance here, but Remember is a solid entry in the revenge genre and it’s worth a look for the performances alone.
3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls
Now playing in Houston exclusively at Sundance Cinemas.
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